61 addresses are on evacuation order and 360 are on evacuation alert inside the village of McBride – plus hundreds of other properties in the area – because of the Teare Creek Wildfire that sprung up on Thursday (May 4).
Gene Runtz, the mayor of McBride, confirmed to My PG Now this morning (Saturday) that the fire was started by a farmer burning off their field earlier in the week.
“That was several days before, and there was no smoke for several days at all,” Runtz said. “When the wind came up on Thursday, that is when everybody became aware there is a potential problem.”
The BC Wildfire Service and local crews from McBride and Valemount started to fight the fire on Thursday, Runtz said it looked like they had it nearly beaten.
“At around [noon Friday], about 95 to 99% of any place there was smoke was cleaned up. The winds first started around 1:30, not real strong, maybe 10-15 kilometers an hour,” he said. “Around 4:00 everything really took off. We had gusts of 60-70 kilometers an hour. The fire was five kilometers away, and within no time at all it was sitting at the door of the village of McBride.”
The BC Wildfire Service reports having four attack crews, four helicopters, four officers and a unit crew fighting the fire, on top of crews from McBride and Valemount, but Runtz said all eyes today are on the sky.
“The concern right now is what is going to happen with the weather. Is it going to rain, is it not going to rain, and what will the winds do?”
You can find McBride’s forecast here.
Runtz said as of this morning there have been no buildings in McBride damaged by the fire – but some buildings outside the village have been burned. Information on what those buildings are, if they were homes, is still unavailable.
If it comes to the worst case scenario, McBride’s population of just over 600 will be evacuated to Prince George.
Runtz said he has not been in contact with Prince George mayor Simon Yu yet, but Yu is one of the many phone calls on his list.
He also wanted to extend a thank you to the people and mayor of Valemount, who he says have been “just terrific” through this ordeal.